NCIC warns five major towns possible poll violence hotspots - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

NCIC warns five major towns possible poll violence hotspots

 

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has mapped out five major towns as possible hotspots for violence during the 2022 election campaigns period.

They are Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa and Nakuru.  

Tuesday, the commission said the areas are being monitored closely as the country has reached new low levels of incitement with heightened political activities and rhetoric that point to a possible repeat of the 2007/8 elections violence.

It is also keenly monitoring regions with a history of pre-existing conflicts either relating to order or elections including Marsabit, Isiolo and Tana River counties to ensure that early warning signs and ethnic mobilisation is dealt with in time.

NCIC's Sam Kona

NCIC's Sam Kona who said the commission has adopted a preventative approach to de-escalate early signs of violence in the country

Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Preventative approach

Commissioner Sam Kona said NCIC has adopted a preventative approach to de-escalate early signs of violence in the country by strengthening collaboration and co-ordination of peace and security actors and imparting creating capacity for mediation, arbitration and negotiation amongst community leaders, youth groups, security officials and politicians.

"We are going to use the lessons learnt in the past to strengthen response coordination," said Commissioner Kona.

In Nairobi, the team cited the city’s seven slums as recruitment grounds for political activities. They, however, did not release specific areas in other counties by the time of going to press.

Additionally, Mr Kona said the commission has warned against the use of political manifestos and slogans that exacerbate tension and conflict in the country.

"We are not in the business of analysing or commenting on political manifestos but what we will not shy away from saying is, whichever political slogan or manifesto you come up with, NCIC will always be at the forefront in cautioning that which is enhancing differences in our society be it regional, ethnic, religious or class differences," said the commissioner.

Francis Kuria

Francis Kuria (front) from Inter-religious Council of Kenya and  NCIC Commissioner Sam Kona addressing journalists at Pride Inn hotel in Nairobi on February 16, 2021.

Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Peace actors’ forum

He was speaking after hosting the first peace actors’ forum in Nairobi where peace and security agents exchanged information and jointly learnt how to address emerging conflict dynamics and governance issues.

Historically, Kenyans lose an average of one year in every five-year election cycle because of election-related activities including campaigns, election process and so forth. 

Francis Kuria, the secretary-general of the Inter-religious Council of Kenya, noted that it will be unfortunate if the country loses two years this cycle because of early campaigns and political activities that are disruptive to the economy and stability of the country.

Nyandarua IDPs

Women displaced by the 2007 /2008 post-election violence carry building materials in Mirangine in Nyandarua County on January 18, 2021 to a 500acre piece of land at Kwa Muhu farm which they forcibly sub-divided among themselves after waiting for more than 10 years for the government to settle them.

Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Political rhetoric

“As religious leaders, we really wish that the political class would tone down their political rhetoric and recognise that Kenyans must be given the opportunity to pursue their economic activities without ethnic mobilisation and heightened political temperatures that are disruptive. We are a poor country, a lot of Kenyans are looking for economic activities. Losing two years will be a huge blow to the economy,” said Mr Kuria.

On her part, Susan Owiro Chege of Partnership for Peace and Security said it would be very unfortunate if Kenya would go into political violence while occupying a key position at the UN Security Council.

“It is very important that we look at strategies on engaging in peace building so that we sustain our seat at that particular level. These include rallying women and the youth on the security resolutions that we have including 1325 and 2250 on youth peace and security. It is not going to be that the countries with a seat at the UN Security Council are the ones that are not going to maintain peace,” said Ms Chege.

Mr Kelvin Osido of the County Governments Watch said there’s a need for county governments to partner with NCIC in mitigating against violence at the grassroots to avert a repeat of the chaos witnessed in Kisii, Murang’a, Kapedo and several other corners of the republic. 

"It is time for county governments to begin having conversations about how they organise structures with the commission to deal with threats that emerge and threaten service delivery mechanisms. They have to deal with a situation, for example, where you find that it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon and you have thousands of young people in the streets who are listening to very interesting, sad, discouraging and disenfranchising stories from politicians. This is a show of how we have forgotten about things that are important to them,” he said.

Kiambaa Kenya Assemblies of God Church

Phillip Kimunya (centre), who sustained burns at the Kiambaa Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County during the 2007/2008 post-election violence and other victims of the post-election violence speaking during a press on November 27, 2020.

File | Nation Media Group

Peaceful election roadmap

Last year, the commission launched the roadmap to a peaceful election in Kenya that will see it engage in various activities aimed at ensuring the country remains peaceful and stable before, during and after the 2022 General Elections.

“We believe the best time to plan for peace is when we have peace. Now we are peaceful, we do not have a lot of problems but we will run this programme until after 2022 elections,” said Commissioner Kona.

As part of the activities, the commission will next month hold a political parties symposium that will see leaders and their members commit to conducting peaceful elections.

“Politicians’ work is to confuse and incite community members, so what we are doing through the help of NCIC is to sensitise communities on the best electoral practices and peace building,” said Thomas Akendo, Chairman, Nairobi Peace Committees.


COURTESY OF THE DAILY NATION  

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